Rebecca Lobo of WNBA's Connecticut Suns

Rebecca Lobo

Connecticut Suns Professional Women's NBA Basketball Team

Rebecca Lobo's collegiate and professional basketball career is a very inspirational tale. As the first player to be drafted by the WNBA, she is known as one of the most influential founding players of the League.

In her senior year at the University of Connecticut, she led the Huskies Women's Basketball Team to an undefeated season and the NCAA national title. This earned her the award of the Women's College Basketball Player of the year in 1995.

After college, she went on to be a member of the 1996 U.S. Olympic team where she helped to bring home the Gold Medal.

The WNBA was founded in 1996 and they held their first draft in January 1997. She was assigned to the New York Liberty where she played from 1997-2002. She led the Liberty to an appearance in the WNBA's first championship game in 1997 where they lost to the Houston Comets.

In the first minute of play in the 1999 season opener against the Cleveland Rockers, Rebecca suffered a devastating injury which would have ended just about anyone else' career. She tore the anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) in her left knee. Following two surgeries and two grueling years of rehabilitation, Rebecca was ready to make her comeback.

Playing off the bench in 2001, Rebecca appeared in 16 games averaging 1.1 points per game while shooting .318 (7-22 FGA). She scored her first basket in two years at Cleveland on June 7. Just two weeks later, she scored a season-high nine points with five rebounds in a victory at Phoenix on June 21. Her season was cut short again when she was placed on the injured list on August 10.

Aside from an amazing comeback year, 2001 also marked Rebecca's final season with New York basketball. She was traded to the Houston for a second-round selection in the 2002 Women's NBA Draft.

After playing for the Comets during the 2002 season, Rebecca came full circle when she returned to Connecticut to help establish the newly formed Suns team which shares their name with the Phoenix Suns , the first independently owned team in the WNBA.

On September 23, 2003, only 13 days prior to her 30th birthday, Rebecca announced her retirement from professional basketball. While she has no immediate plans other than finally taking her honeymoon with husband Steve, she is exploring her options.

Rebecca Lobo is a pioneer who helped to build the WNBA into the thriving organization, which has inspired a surge in the popularity of women's basketball. The grit and tenacity, which she showed in her rehabilitation from what was a potentially career ending injury, is what makes her such an inspiration to anyone who is in the face of adversity. She is a REAL WOMAN IN SPORTS.

Rebecca Lobo: Number 1 Draft Pick of the New York Liberty in the WNBA Inauguration Season

Rebecca Lobo at the 2003 NBA All-Star Weekend

Rebecca Lobo signs autographs at a press conference introducing the Connecticut Sun on January 28, 2003 at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn

Rebecca Lobo shoots against Lisa Leslie during a game on May 24, 2003